Health and safety at work – the basics for business

For many businesses all that’s required to comply with health and safety law is a basic series of practical tasks that protect people from harm. In general health and safety law applies to all businesses and an employer or self employed person is responsible for the health and safety within their business.

The employer is responsible for making risk assessments of the work activity undertaken so that controls are put in place to protect people from harm. Employers may also have to prepare a health and safety policy to detail the arrangements within the workplace for health and safety. If less than 5 people are employed the risk assessments and safety policy does not have to be written down. 

The Health and Safety Executive website has lots of examples of risk assessments which are available on their control the risks in your business (external link) page. They also have example safety policies on their write a health and safety policy (external link) page.

The health and safety toolbox (external link) explains how to control risks in a range of workplaces.

For further advice on health and safety contact the Environmental Health service at or details below.

Who does what?

Health and Safety visits are made by both the Health and Safety Executive and the local council. Rother DC covers workplace safety and health in the retail, commercial and leisure sectors, including shops, warehouses, catering, hotels, residential care, offices, garden centers, builders’ merchants, tyre and exhaust fitters and the beauty sector (including tattooing, cosmetic piercing).

The HSE have produced a similar summary for their businesses, please visit is the HSE the correct authority for you (external link)

What you can expect when we visit

You may receive a letter offering advice or stating that an Environmental Health Officer will visit at a particular time – this means that your business has been selected for an intervention based on the HSE national priority list or the local service plan. All our officers are fully qualified and competent, attending regular training each year. They will discuss the workplace hazards with you and offer appropriate advice. Formal action is reserved for cases involving significant or repeated breaches of the law or danger to others.

The HSE have produced guidance on what you can expect when a Health and Safety Officer calls (external link)